The City of Santa Fe retained HVS Convention, Sports & Entertainment Facilities Consulting in September 2002 to analyze the merits of developing a new convention and multi-purpose center in downtown Santa Fe. The City has been successful in attracting small, upscale national conventions and meetings which take place primarily in downtown hotels. For the past three decades the City has also utilized the Sweeney Center – a converted high-school gymnasium – for a variety of local and regional consumer shows, civic events, meetings, and entertainment. HVS identified substantial latent demand for a new, larger convention center in Santa Fe. Several local event planners would like to expand their shows; but are currently constrained by the limited exhibit space available at the Sweeney Center. Moreover, some statewide and national groups that view Santa Fe as a highly attractive destination currently do not consider holding their annual conventions in Santa Fe because there is not a suitable convention center there. Therefore, facility recommendations were not constrained so much by market demand as by site and budget considerations. Taking each of these factors into account, the HVS study recommended the development of a new 80,000 square foot convention center with a multi-purpose exhibit hall. HVS also worked closely with the City to craft a public financing strategy that would closely match those who are expected to benefit from the project with those who will pay for the project. For more details, please see the Santa Fe Civic Center Feasibility Study.